In these times of better living through gadgetry, we want a just-right tool for every job. Instant gratification and ultimate satisfaction are what we’ve come to expect in every aspect of our lives: the way we consume entertainment, our modes of communication—and, of course, our cleaning products.
2 of 12Jens Mortensen
The rotating curved edge fits the shape of any pan to dislodge stuck-on foods (scrambled-egg cleanup is a breeze). And the finely tapered nylon head won’t scratch even delicate nonstick surfaces. Designed for the Museum of Modern Art, it’s as snazzy as it is brilliant.
The robot vacuum has a new cousin—it’s a wet mop and a duster. And, yes, a robot, too! Set on Sweep, it moves back and forth in neat lines, catching dust and dander. In Mop mode, it uses its own wet cleaning cloths (or disposable cloths from most big-name brands) to make floors shiny and fresh. Flat and small enough to zip under furniture and into tight spaces (measuring only 3.1 inches high), it uses GPS-like technology to map its path and built-in sensors to avoid stairs and area rugs. When it’s all done, it returns to its starting spot. And it’s super-quiet, so it won’t terrify the cat.
This high-low duster is shaped to nestle in the curves of molding—and tall enough to keep you off the ladder while you work. Spray the disposable pads (which have the texture of a velour lint brush) with the cleaner of your choice and get swiping. Hit the tops of doors and window frames while you’re at it.
Want to give sealed wood floors a deep but not damaging wash? Or unmud the mudroom floor? With nothing but water, this device does the trick in seconds, while it kills dust mites. Your sponge mop will get lonely once you start using this weekly to disinfect the bathroom.
A tiny double-tipped doohickey that we’ll all soon be hooked on. The silicone end removes dust, crumbs, and goop from around computer keys, and the retractable soft-bristled brush is gentle enough for detailing a cell-phone camera lens.
Never again splatter bleach on your clothes while doing laundry. These Alka-Seltzer-size tablets offer a precisely metered dose of controlled bleachy goodness and take up practically no space in the laundry room. Keep a bottle in the bathroom as well, and drop one into the bowl between cleaning days.
Save the Q-tips for makeup removal. This tough-bristled tool quickly and efficiently cleans window and sliding-door tracks. After you loosen the grime, pick up what’s left with a damp cloth or a paper towel.
When you pull on the handle, the closed canister gently and magically blossoms open to let you lift the brush, like something out of James Bond’s powder room. It stays in the ready position till you redock, then shuts smoothly. The brush itself is top-notch, with a flexible neck that allows it to get under the rim. And the canister’s built-in vented drip tray catches icky water in its own compartment, so the brush is able to dry between uses.
What the what?! A magic wand for fighting germs? Using the same technology employed to sanitize hospital equipment for the past three decades, this ultraviolet light–emitting tool is said to kill bacteria on all sorts of hard surfaces. It works without chemicals, so it’s safe on electronic devices, like keyboards, remotes, and phones, as well as countertops and doorknobs. (But, no, not on germy humans and pets. We were wondering, too.)
Name your cleaning pet peeve. Driven mad by impossible staircase corners? Now you can get ’em good with a 90-degree device by StairMaid ($20, qvc.com), compatible with any make of vacuum. How about the linty space between the washer and the dryer? If you have a Dyson machine, the bendable flex crevice tool with its rubber extension ($30, dyson.com) is built for just that job. Dust gobs inside the radiator? Those with a Miele vacuum can get the SHB20 Brush ($26, mieleusa.com), which also works on blinds.